Winners of the Rotary Club of Kapa`a 2012 Kaua`i Green Innovation Awards

Winners of the Rotary Club of Kapa`a 2012 Kaua`i Green Innovation Awards display their plaques. L-R: Katy Means, Kapa`a Boys and Girls Club of Hawai`i; Nathan Wood, Renewable Energy Technologies; Angela Hoover, Hukilau Lanai Restaurant; Michael Dexter-Smith, Twisted Plastics; Anne Akama representing Jane Kato, Kaua`i Crayon; Matthew Taeza, Sheraton Kaua`i Resort. Also: speakers George Costa, Kaua`i County Office of Economic Development; and social media expert Linda Sherman, Sustainable Forums Kaua`i. Not shown: winners Douglas D. McPherson, Westin Princeville Ocean Resort Villas; and Jeremy Minschel, Islandwide Solar. Contributed photo

Rotary Club Of Kapa`a Announces Winners Of Sixth Annual 2012 Kaua`i Green Innovation Awards — Eight Winners honored

The Rotary Club of Kapa`a honored eight local businesses as winners of its sixth annual 2012 Kaua`i Green Innovation Awards at a recent luncheon held at Kaua`i Pasta in Kapa`a.

“Each of these winning initiatives contributes significantly to helping our island be a cleaner, greener and more sustainable place to live and work,” said Judah Freed, chairman of the Rotary Club’s Vocational Committee, which coordinates the annual green awards. “We invited nominations for new and innovative green projects over the past 12 months.”

Each entry was judged on four criteria: innovation, environmental impact, effectiveness, and scalability, and the winners were projects the club felt others cold emulate.

The eight winners are: Islandwide Solar, Renewable Energy Technologies, The Hukilau Lanai Restaurant, Sheraton Kaua`i Resort, Twisted Plastics, The Westin Princeville Ocean Resort Villas, Kapa`a Boys and Girls Club of Hawai`i and Kaua`i Crayons.

Islandwide Solar expanded its effort to reduce the demand of fossil fuels used to produce electricity. The SunRun program, introduced to the public in 2011, lets Islandwide pay for the complete solar photovoltaic system and take the tax credits while passing along to the homeowner a portion of the investment.

As a result, homeowners end up paying about 50 percent of the standard cost for purchasing a solar system conventionally.

Renewable Energy Technologies (RET), a venture led by general contractor Nathan Wood, initiated two sustainability projects. RET installed a residential water catchment system that captured rainwater for irrigation of food gardens.

The company assisted Wilcox Elementary School with construction of a greenhouse to support education focused on generating and maintaining sustainable food sources via hydroponics. RET is working on the design and engineering of wind powered systems as the next generation of commercial and residential renewable energy production on Kaua`i.

The Hukilau Lanai Restaurant followed a multi-pronged green program. The dining establishment introduced a new interactive website menu in partnership with Real Time Farms to identify the sources of produce and other fresh items; purchased more food from local organic farmers such as Moloa`a Organica and Kailani Farms and made fresh sausage and charcuterie in-house from local Kaneshiro Farms pork.

More green moves included that they reduced unnecessary and imported garnishes for beverages and cocktails; switched to all-LED lighting in the dining room and lounge area; installed a dish sprayer using low water flow and pressure; repurposed used wine bottles as tabletop candle holders; collected batteries for the Kaua`i Recycle Center; collected coffee grounds for composting; printed menus on post-recycled paper, and more.

The Sheraton Kaua`i Resort became a member of the “Clean the World” program by refurbishing soap and bottled guest amenities such as shampoo, which the Sheraton and allied agencies then distribute to children and families worldwide. As of January 2012, the staff had collected more than 2,800 bars of soap and more than 1,400 pounds of soap and bottled amenities.

Secondary benefits from the Sheraton actions include the reduction of carbon emissions from trash hauling, reduced waste in landfill, and the accompanying reduction of used soaps or hair products in the island ecosystem.

Twisted Plastics laid the groundwork to begin “harvesting” the particulate plastics in the Pacific Gyre, also called the Pacific Garbage Patch or Pacific Trash Vortex. It’s a vast zone of decomposed plastics and other waste in the North Pacific estimated to cover an area at least the size of the continental United States.        Twisted Plastics is working with researchers to test a plastic-biodegrading enzyme called Biopure. Another initiative by this company is development of a  hand-cranked machine for use in developing nations that loosely twists plastic bags together to form a strand of plastic that is then wound or woven into ropes, which are woven into mats that can be used as substrate for roads or land reclamation.

The Westin Princeville Ocean Resort Villas has a Sustainability Council, led by Director of Engineering Douglas McPherson. The council has a long list of notable accomplishments. Among them are that a third of the guests accept their Green Choice option to forego daily housekeeping and thus reduce laundering linens.

The council has added recycling containers in all guest rooms, sorts the resort’s general trash, uses green cleaning products in the rooms; reduces water consumption by irrigating only as necessary; harvests their Sustainability Garden for organic herbs used in food preparation; uses low-VOC paints to reduce greenhouse gas emissions; recycles old pool towels; has instituted sustainable meeting and banquet practices; and participates in annual Earth Hour and Earth Day activities.

The Kapa`a Boys and Girls Club of Hawai`i educates youth on the importance of sustainability. Activities include “From the Garden to the Table” element of the weekly Leaders in Training meetings; has built a shade house from 100 percent recycled materials; installed ne